The SEJ WatchDog

 

Searchable archives of the biweekly WatchDog TipSheet's story ideas, articles, updates, events and other information with a focus on freedom-of-information issues of concern to environmental journalists in both the U.S. and Canada are posted here on the day of publication. Journalists are eligible for a free email subscription; send name and full contact information to the SEJ office. WatchDog TipSheet is also available via RSS feed.

Latest WatchDog TipSheet Items

June 29, 2011

  • WONDER is a single portal for using a variety of databases related to public health that are maintained by CDC. Many are relevant to the environment beat, such as asthma and allergy prevalence, lung disease, cancer, agricultural safety, pesticides, occupational exposure, chemical hazards, waterborne disease, foodborne disease, and adverse vaccine events.

  • Congress still forbids the Congressional Research Service to release publicly reports that taxpayers have paid for. Thanks to groups like the Federation of American Scientists, however, taxpayers can read the reports online despite the charade.

  • The Agriculture Department under President Obama has partly restored public access to the Agricultural Chemical Usage data by the National Agricultural Statistics Service. President Bush had cancelled the reports in 2008.

June 15, 2011

  • The chemicals, the identities of which had been withheld up till now based on companies' "confidential business information" claims, are used in products like oil dispersants, air fresheners, non-stick and stain-resistant materials, fire-resistant materials, nonylphenol compounds, perfluorinated compounds, and lead.

  • Robert Foltz, host of the "Let's Talk" show on WMBS in Uniontown for 10 years, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette he was fired just moments after a local municipal official said on his show that drilling for gas in the Marcellus shale formation had contaminated the local groundwater supply with bromine.

  • The New York Times' Felicity Barringer tells the story of Andy Keller, 38, who dresses up in bags as "Bag Monster" to promote his reusable "ChicoBag," invoking the ire of three plastic bag manufacturers in South Carolina.

  • New documents, released only after a lawsuit, to Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility show the White House is telling agencies they can stick with existing practices when it comes to political interference with science — and do just about anything they want.

  • It's a convenient way to access inspection, violation, and enforcement information under the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, and hazardous waste laws. It's more visual than ever, and includes map interfaces and reports that help you tell your readers and viewers how pollution affects their locality.

June 1, 2011

  • Washington Post reporter Ed O'Keefe reports that White House negotiators from both parties substantially slashed the Electronic Government Fund which "helps finance government sites that track federal data, government contracting, government information technology and overall performance."

  • If you find using the Freedom of Information Act daunting, try this open government tool conceived by journalist Michael Morisy and start-up guru Mitchell Kotler. It will embargo a journalist's request before story publication.  

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